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# The Leading Ace: The one where all the aces follow their leader

## The magic effect

The four aces travel from four separate piles of cards joining together in a single pile...except not to the pile where they should have gone!

## The mechanics

First the four aces are removed and placed in a line face up on the table. Three other cards (the 'indifferent' cards) are slowly dealt face down onto each, almost covering them. The pack is put aside. You take each ace in turn, pull it out, turn it face down and place the other three cards on top, squaring them into a pile. You now have four neat, face-down piles comprising an ace at the bottom with three indifferent cards on top. Stack them into a single pile.

Next explain that you are going to deal the cards out. Starting from the top of the pile, deal the first card counting 'one', next to it the second card counting 'two', then deal the third, 'three' keeping the beat of the count going, and finally the fourth card 'ace'.

## Misdirection

Now for some misdirection! Ask the spectator if they have followed the deal so far. Are they sure that the fourth card dealt is an ace? To emphasise the point you use the card on top of your undealt pile as a pointer to gesture to the fourth card and get them to check. Your eyes should look at the fourth card at this point. This is misdirection for the only 'move' in the trick. While the spectator is checking the tabled card, move your hands back and move the card you used as a pointer back, looking like you're going to replace it on top then instead secretly slip it onto the bottom of the deck. Now deal the remaining cards from the pack repeating the one, two, three, ace rhythm.

Because you secretly displaced the top card the three aces are now actually in the third pile.

## Follow the leader

Clear away piles one and two. Turn them over when discarding them to show they are just indifferent cards. This helps 'sell' the previous deal. Everything is happening as the audience expected.

Finally, remove the ace from the bottom of the fourth pile (where everyone expects it to be) and place it face up on its pile. Do the same with the indifferent card from the bottom of the other pile. Now openly swap these two cards. Snap your fingers three times. Announce at each snap that an ace will travel from the ace pile to follow its leader.

Finally, reveal the magical movement. All the aces invisibly followed the leader.

## Prove it works!

Each pile originally held four cards: indiferrent, indiferrent, indiferrent, ace. Let's write that as IIIA (using A for ace, I for indifferent: we don't care what's on it).

When we make up the full pile we have IIIA-IIIA-IIIA-IIIA.

Now we start to deal them out: I I I A

The volunteer can check the fourth card because it is an ace in the place they expect it to be. The remaining cards that are still in the pile are IIIA-IIIA-IIIA.

You use the top card on the undealt pile as the pointer and slip it to the bottom. This leaves the pack as: IIA-IIIA-IIIA-I

Deal out the next four cards and the 4 stacks are now:

I I I A

I I A I

The un-dealt pile is now: IIA-IIIA-I. Do that twice more to give:

I I I A

I I A I

I I A I

I I A I

Your audience think that all the aces are in the last pile, but they are actually in the third one (apart from the one at the bottom). You take it and the one at the bottom of the third pile and place them on top where they can be seen:

I I A I

I I A I

I I A I

I I I A

You then take the 'leader' ace that is in the wrong position and swap it to join the others.

I I A I

I I A I

I I A I

I I A I

All the aces are in pile 3 as required.

## Showmanship

In a classic trick from fairground stalls a conman places a ball under one of three cups. He shuffles them round quickly. You watch closely so can say where the ball is, but it is always somewhere else. Build a story about this into your patter but only after the misdirection step so they aren't watching closely then. You do the same with aces instead of balls. To make it easy you will deal them out slowly. Can the punter say where all the aces are?

You've seen the trick, now find out about the science!